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  • Writer's pictureKassi K.

12 Landscaping Plants for Shade to Consider for Your Garden

Updated: 3 days ago

Landscaping in Northern Colorado can be challenging due to the region's unique climate and altitude. When selecting plants for shady areas in this region, it's essential to consider factors such as cold tolerance, drought resistance, and adaptability to Colorado's climate. Here are some landscaping plants for shade that can thrive in Northern Colorado.


1. Hostas (Hosta spp.)

Hostas are excellent shade plants with a wide variety of leaf shapes and colors. They're known for their lush foliage and can add a pop of green to shaded areas. They produce purple flowers that attract pollinators and are very low maintenance.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Shade Height: 20" - 30" Width: 3' - 5'

Foliage Color: Yellow, Green, Blue, White Bloom Color: Purple Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Easy Care


2. Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)

Colorado's state flower, the columbine, is well-suited to the region's shade. It produces delicate, colorful flowers in the spring and early summer. It is a low-maintenance flower that is also well-adapted to arid environments


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Shade Height: 18" - 24" Width: 16" - 18"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Multicolor, Purple, White, Yellow, Red Bloom Time: Spring

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Rabbit Resistant


3. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

Bleeding heart flowers

This perennial plant has unique, heart-shaped flowers that dangle from arching stems. It prefers partial to full shade and can add a touch of romance to your garden.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Shade Height: 24" - 3' Width: 24" - 3' Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Pink Bloom Time: Spring Attributes: Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Easy Care, Staff Favorite


4. Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)

Known for their colorful foliage, coral bells are shade-tolerant plants that come in various leaf colors and textures. They also produce small, bell-shaped flowers, are drought-tolerant, and require very little maintenance.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade Height: 6" - 14" Width: 8" - 12" Foliage Color: Green, Multicolor, White, Purple, Pink Bloom Color: Pink, Red Bloom Time: Spring, Summer Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant


5. False Spirea (Astilbe)

Astilbes are shade-loving perennials that produce feathery plumes of flowers in shades of pink, red, white, or purple. They thrive in moist soil and are a unique plant that is sure to catch the eyes of passersby.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Shade Height: 24" - 3' Width: 24" - 3' Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Pink, Red, White, Purple Bloom Time: Summer Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant


6. False Forget-Me-Not (Brunnera macrophylla)

False Forget-Me-Not 'Jack Frost'

Sometimes called Siberian Bugloss, this plant features heart-shaped leaves and small blue flowers that resemble those of forget-me-nots. It's well-suited to shade and makes a beautiful addition to any landscaping.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 8 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Shade Height: 12" - 16" Width: 12" - 16" Foliage Color: Green, Multicolor, Silver Bloom Color: Blue Bloom Time: Spring Attributes: Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Staff Favorite

7. Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

Bugleweed 'Chocolate Chip'

Bugleweed is a great shade-loving flowering perennial that is very low maintenance. It grows quickly and can tolerate mild foot traffic. Attract pollinators to your yard and add a delicate dash of color to your shaded spaces!


Plant Type: Groundcover, Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 10 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Shade, Sun Height: 4" - 6" Width: 8" - 10"

Foliage Color: Brown, Green Bloom Color: Blue, Purple Bloom Time: Spring

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Deer Resistant, Fast Growing, Easy Care

8. Hellebores (Helleborus spp.)

Hellebores, also known as Lenten roses, bloom early in the spring and are tolerant of both shade and cold temperatures. They come in a variety of colors, are low-maintenance, produce showy single or double blooms, and are drought tolerant, making them great for xeric landscapes.


Plant Type: Perennial

Hardiness Zone: 4

Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Shade

Height: 18" - 24"

Width: 18" - 24"

Foliage Color: Green

Bloom Color: Red, Maroon, Pink, White

Bloom Time: Spring

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Rabbit Resistant, Salt Tolerant, Staff Favorite


9. Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.)

Hydrangeas are a fantastic option for shaded areas of your landscaping. While many blooming plants require full sun, these flowering shrubs prefer shaded conditions and produce voluminous and flourishing clumps of flowers in a variety of colors. Influence the color of your blooms by adding Soil Acidifier (to encourage blue blooms) or Garden Lime (to encourage pink blooms).


Plant Type: Shrub

Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9

Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Sun

Height: 3' - 6'

Width: 3' - 6'

Foliage Color: Green

Bloom Color: Pink, Blue, White

Bloom Time: Spring, Summer, Fall

Attributes: Easy Care, Native, Pet Friendly, Easy Care, Fast Growing, Attracts Pollinators


10. Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)

Also known as Wild Bergamot, this native perennial produces showy, fragrant flowers in shades of purple, pink, or red. It can tolerate partially shaded conditions, is well-adapted to Colorado's climate, and is fantastic for attracting bees and other beneficial insects.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Sun Height: 10" - 12" Width: 8" - 10"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Purple, Pink, Red Bloom Time: Fall, Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant, Staff Favorite, Fragrant


11. Boxwood Shrubs (Buxus spp.)

There are many different varieties of Boxwood shrubs, some of which are very tolerant of shaded conditions. These evergreen plants provide fantastic winter interest, are very low-maintenance, and can be pruned into specific shapes or left alone to grow naturally.


Plant Type: Shrub Hardiness Zone: 5 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Shade, Sun Height: 24" - 32" Width: 24" - 32"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Green

Attributes: Deer Resistant, Easy Care, Winter Interest, Pet Friendly


12. Ivory Halo Dogwood (Cornus alba 'Bailhalo')

Ivory Halo® Dogwood- Cornus alba 'Bailhalo'

This variety of Dogwood shrub is tolerant of slightly shaded growing conditions and features beautifully variegated leaves in the summer and red branches in the winter. Native to Colorado, it is a great option for any landscape.


Plant Type: Shrub Hardiness Zone: 3 - 7 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Sun Height: 5' - 6' Width: 5' - 6'

Foliage Color: Green, Multicolor, White Bloom Color: White

Attributes: Attracts Birds, Native, Winter Interest


Landscaping Plants for Shade

If you are looking for more shade-tolerant options for your yard or landscaping, check out our Plant Finder! This helpful tool allows you to filter according to the different plant's needs, helping to make sure you always plant the right thing in the right space. When considering adding plants to your space, remember to always check the specific growing requirements of the plants you choose, as some shade-loving plants may still require well-drained soil, and others may have preferences for certain levels of shade. Proper soil preparation and regular watering are also essential for the success of shade plants in Northern Colorado's variable climate. If you need help, have questions, or are interested in talking to a landscape designer, get in touch with us today!

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